Talk:Program/Wikimedia and libraries

Wikimania 2008 Alexandria :: Change the shape of wisdom
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The focus of great libraries and of the Wikimedia projects are similar: to preserve information and knowledge, to catalog and arrange it, and to distribute it as widely as possible.  Yet Wikipedia and its sister projects have not worked very extensively with libraries.   

The question for todays panel is : what projects should Wikimedia and libraries undertake to achieve their combined goals?  What can the  wikipedia communities, and the history of Library curation and scholarship learn from one another?

We are honored to have today 5 panelists from library projects around the world:

Sohair Wastawy
has been the chief librarian for the Library of Alexandria for the past 4 years
: thinking about this in a different way.  the avg age of people here is under 35; it's a new library that had the culture of libraries; librarians didnt' have that experience in old print mode; they see things dfiferently; trhouh itw as a nagetive effect at first. 

Tim Spalding
founder of the LibrayThing, social website for catalogers and bibliophiles
: doesn't work directly with wm projets.  used to heavily edit ancienct history. medieval art may not work... often still not.  how to make that swith? 
: missing seats at th e table. OpenLibrary project : an efrfort t omake wp for books; oclc

Jakob Voss
a developer for germany's largest library network
student of computer science and library science
: wp dont talke libraries seriously; the two should work together.  

Phoebe Ayers
Ref librarian at the science and engineering library at the U. of California, in the US. 
:

Charles Henry 
president of the Council on Library and Information Resources,
and former longtime Rice University librarian.
: problems with wp - studnets locking themselves out of nuance : how to enhanc wp study with traditional study.  wp was replacing what libraries had done.  resentment. 
:: studnets sya - this lets you dachieve in 2 hours what used to take weeks.  this acceleration of the wheel of discovery.. what dos that mean?

Intro : Please raise a hand / flag a question at any time; don't wait; you might forget it.


Q0: I'd like to start by asking the panelists to introduce themselves, by describing BRIEFLY how they encounter the Wikimedia projects in their daily work. For the wikipedians on the panel: were you a wikipedian or a librarian first?  (How has Wikipedia influenced your library work, and vice-versa?)

Qa: what projects could be workd on together?  mayube wikipedians can comment on the history fo the wokr themsevles.
 jv : librarie s can provide sustainability; wiki archiving is horrible; admins could delete things.  this is one thing that wp can wlearn from libraries; better wya to archiv.  
    libraries from wm, we hjave to find out the specific tasks for distrib.
 ts : I feel I' ttacking by saying this.  I know some old people, and some are ok. there's something going on where the underlying princples are deeply in siynch .  fundamental desires to have everything be free.  am libs have "fre efor all" above the door.  
   computerization has made things not free, and squeeezd out.  aliot of thse tihngs can come back, where ther eisn't a need for scarcity.
   ch : I tink that's just right.  anothrer thing here that's important and copmlex is the iossue of authority.  ibraries may nnot jujst be generational; not just old or yong librarians most peope tdoday grew up ... pointing to the universities : authoryity was very tightuly held with faculyt.  
  ts : so wikipedia teaches people to review and reflect on the source...
 ch : I agrew ith that; knoweldge as it grows is incremental, but it allows for shcolars and students ot talk and contirbute their opinions about a owrk.  there's a marveous dynamic waiting to be exploited by this modle 

sj : can yuou say more about how htis would work : ?  is making this happen a wmatter of getting libraires to engage with commniteis online, or getting those online comunities to negage in libray shpoeres?

sohiar : the first networ kthat dengaged a lot of peope was the librarian catalog; there was noone else on computers.  thisere were these ibms with green screens and noone else was availab. e the library ahs a different set of vlaues, that is very much one of tit... 
<_sj_> Qa: what projects could be workd on together?  mayube wikipedians can comment on the history fo the wokr themsevles.
<_sj_>  jv : librarie s can provide sustainability; wiki archiving is horrible; admins could delete things.  this is one thing that wp can wlearn from libraries; better wya to archiv.  
<_sj_>     libraries from wm, we hjave to find out the specific tasks for distrib.
<_sj_>  ts : I feel I' ttacking by saying this.  I know some old people, and some are ok. there's something going on where the underlying princples are deeply in siynch .  fundamental desires to have everything be free.  am libs have "fre efor all" above the door.  
<_sj_>    computerization has made things not free, and squeeezd out.  aliot of thse tihngs can come back, where ther eisn't a need for scarcity.
<_sj_>    ch : I tink that's just right.  anothrer thing here that's important and copmlex is the iossue of authority.  ibraries may nnot jujst be generational; not just old or yong librarians most peope tdoday grew up ... pointing to the universities : authoryity was very tightuly held with faculyt.  
<_sj_> ch: one of the hurdles ihere is, how do you go from a system that grants authoroity from slowly iterations to
<_sj_> one that changes so quickly
<_sj_> education has always problematized its issues
<_sj_> everything that's written in a book is true... you learn that every book as a gard stdent is made under its own conditions.
<_sj_> wm deals with source criticism.
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<Masry> _sj_: what are you doing here?
<_sj_> sohiar : the first networ kthat dengaged a lot of peope was the librarian catalog; there was noone else on computers.  thisere were these ibms with green screens and noone else was availab. e the library ahs a different set of vlaues, that is very much one of tit... 
<_sj_> the idea that valid information has to be paid for...
<_sj_> this is something we talk about more,
<_sj_> then all of the agorea that is out ther eon the ewb. 
<_sj_> but par tof the value is stewardship
<_sj_> this is an important value fo rlibrarians.
<_sj_> we really did that woith outr coleltios,m
<_sj_> which is why those alt for years.
<_sj_> but also we are doing this through internet archives and through our digital informaitn; librarians have been riasing thse issesf ro standarda and hwat we shoulduse fr  archiving materials.
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<_sj_> I treally think the refernce sis more cause byrift
<_sj_> ca few individuals other than core values other than livrariesa and technologists... the involvement of corporation and profit making in the middle...
<_sj_> between libraries and whta's availb e on the internet.  that coused the friction.
<_sj_> the dsestinatino willr eally be the same; what librarians most want is really to have a good authoritative info handle, handed to their users.
<_sj_> wikis and thes information pieces online have th epossibility of correcting themselves through something like editing,
<_sj_> but at the same time, as fast as this builds up, that fast mistakes are mkade and known.  
<_sj_> in the past, mistakes would last for a longer time... mistakes in an ariticle would last forever.  and not eveyrone nknew about it.
<_sj_> this is realy resonant with wrong information... 
<_sj_> there is all this method developed on some nonscientific vfact writen by 11 yr lds... as criticim rfor something.
<_sj_> one osis more protective and one authoritative, re data; one is willing to correct ...
<_sj_> pa : I want to ansswr the next to last aquestion about how libraires and wm can work together.
<_sj_> bear in mind I know libraries in englihs the best, but some of these thigns are applicable to many cultures and wikpiedians.  I thin wp can play a role in providing access.  ther is a project ot add linsk to colelctions of primary sources
<_sj_> that have been put up and digitized by a libray.
<_sj_> a link to the enwp wil et so much more traffic than by just existing on the web.
<_sj_> my friend charles and I were talking about htis ealrier - ther eis a fine line between nont spamming wp and adding links to it; but making libraries accessible
<_sj_> thorugh this medium that poeple are udinsign anyway i s iimoirtant.  librarians can play a role in heping out with biblipgrahies.  sources.
<_sj_> we put al this emphasis on souring oraticles; that's one thing that librarieans are pretty good at; this is a crucual problem for wp going forard, and somthing these two communities can work togeter on there have been two talk s on open access..  there's een two talks on this so far
<_sj_> and onanohter coming tomorrow; the question of open access and making shcolarship accessible on the web, making articles accessible to everyone, not jsutp eople who pay 10k thorgh a ascubscritpption --
<_sj_> this is a big issue for libraries...
<_sj_> for you in the states, I know, but also for others... that's something I feel like wp really needs; we ned that information to be accessible; adn we can help.
<_sj_> so we know free culture; and free licensin; we know how that work.s  that's something we can figure out -- if we can figure how to join forces with the opne access and scholarship movements, we can make things happen, to get the primary sources and scholarship to make wp accurate availab eto everyoe,
<_sj_> and licensing -- the projects know licensing and libraries really dont.
<_sj_> question fro mthe audince:
<_sj_> mohammed azru
<_sj_> working with ela bs, a sow assoc in egypt
<_sj_> I thikn if you have a look on the zsize of content that has been created over the history of mankind for many thousnads of years
<_sj_> if you caompare it to the size of the content generated in the digital era, it is something small with something huge
<_sj_> hard to compare by any means. it's exponentila and the exponent is getting larger 
<_sj_> I hthnk we need to redefine the whole libvrary in the digital era
<_sj_> is it the role of the / already nondigital content digitzation?
<_sj_> is tit the orl eof helpong digital content creators to be more specific and more credible a s writer sof content? 
<_sj_> I think the ohwol e order of the library will wion't be valued in the digital era (the ld ) you just search through a serach engine and start searching, you dont need a librarian for this;
<_sj_> if you need extra keywords for your searc you will find a proper selection
<_sj_> this is a challenge for librariezans to redefine their role in the digital contne t area. 
<_sj_> how do thiese complement to add vcalues to digital content?
<_sj_> sohair
<_sj_> I dhthink definig the roel of hte library as a place to keep books is a mistak
<_sj_> e a lot of peopel are here bc of the orle of the library in fondinding inowledge; people nmake statements about its rol, saying it is less important than in the past; but it is a platform for democracy;
<_sj_> you take examples here in egype 
<_sj_> you have 80m here, and 9m with computers, you have only 70 who don't have access ther.e. this is what librareis oare for - to equalize the sale and playing field for lonts of epoeple; it is where people come to learn
<_sj_> you have info lit courses, people learning how to use computers and databases and the web
<_sj_> it is not only a storehoues but a learning place and psace
<_sj_> and a community center... I a key partenr in democracy.
<_sj_> we can't just udge the future o th elibraary based on one part of its work, 
<_sj_> ch : goin back to the lrole of the libarray and the oncept fof wikipedia
<_sj_> ther are some roles and exceptions; it would be profitable for thinking biger, on a grand scale where something like wp is a fudnamental layer of a new kind of environmemnt
<_sj_> we are set -- this in the perspecive ov a university; ther eis all kidns of activity going on, institutional repositories; archives, digital libraries, ther are private notes, some open access articles; some not, some print; it is crazy.
<_sj_> it is 100s if not thousands of digital reference;s iloed activites in different media and formats, and very littel fo that is bvrought together.
<_sj_> going back to the observation that if you look at the information generaiton for data, the dexponential s are bvecoming stacked, exp of exp
<_sj_> you have projecs generativng pteabytes per second - physcis and satsronglmy, and huge huanities projects; it is a mess. it is chaotic.
<_sj_> if there is a wya to weave this together, wip may be one of the great foundational aspecs of this, to continue biulding in a collab wand social way
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<_sj_> with article sbehind it, and deata behind that, and further infor behind that about ethodology behind that, to begi n to knit togethe the 100k of efforts that are going on without regard to one another.  we will enter a new kind of space, one that is not only competlling, but requires a great deal of pro expertise, from mit, from scholars, as well as librariasns to maintain and preserve a kind of virtual environment where knowledge can be discov
<_sj_> ered iwth a helll of alo more ef
<_sj_> phoebe ; to add on to that, I woul dlove to see commons take over the world;
<_sj_> it isn't ogod for everytinhg,k but it could be good for a lot of trhese collections, for porimary rmaterials
<_sj_> or teach other refernece archives to organize a lot of their stuff
<_sj_> I know the foundation has come close to organiez thise large collecitons.   but we haven't gone ther eyet
<_sj_> tim: my prolem with thais is lit looks like the google model, the idea of organizing the world's information; wp and google, users bit by bit... 
<_sj_> I tihk this idea that they ear all doing the sme thign, some kind of way, you would disagree with that...
<_sj_> ch : I do disagree strongly, I tihnk that not so much with wat you said -- but
<_sj_> I htink in the kind of oppostional approach and rehteoric
<_sj_> I ave... 
<_sj_> I have real concerns about what google is doing, and while -- I thin kthere is a lot we don't know about google from a reseach point of view.
<_sj_> on paper it sounds ownderful td idgiizie 210m obooks
<_sj_> but it isn't clear how those books will be allowed to be used
<_sj_> will you be charge?
<_sj_> even if -- the issues of ...
<_sj_> this is nonsensibcal, to charge by use
<_sj_> oeople are interested in a 20m volume library that you can data mine and do e veryithgn to visulaize
<_sj_> do spiophoisticate analysis against that you can't do now
<_sj_> I think that the google model is extraordinatrily problematic there
<_sj_> which is why we turn to the wp model which i sopen and iterative and changes.   
<_sj_> pa : sort of to follow ionto that -- part of the inmpetus behind thse big digitziation projects is avaiailability.
<_sj_> especially fo rlibraries -- it is hard to get access to special collection snow if thye're not digitized.
<_sj_> you have to go and et them.  providing access to information, and also acces to libraries all over the world, is one of these impetuses.
<_sj_> as amn american librarian, I'm curiosu about how wp is viewd around the world.
<_sj_> sohari - I think wp is quick reference information, not scholarly informatoin; the problem we have in social science sis most of it is undre licenses... 
<_sj_> boks still undre cpyirhgt.  ..
<_sj_> we have moved ompletely from first asle doctr4ine to something worse...
<_sj_> jv : wikibooks is a owkrshpace for new books, it is just one wy for people to reach new places; we also hae wikisorufce, which we mentioned before.. and for working otegether we are eitehr creating something new or changing someting... but the archive part is something that can't ebe done by wikis.  
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<_sj_> ts : the dystopian future is one in which libraries are just a data mill mine for commercial companies.  that s one in whic hthey shoudlnt eist.
<_sj_> wpo can contribute omst of all licenses, most academic prouctio isn't commercial.
<_sj_> pa - you work with librareies on a larger scale than jacob and I.  in reality, do you tihnk they wil lmove to poen license,s, move to / be more accepting of these ideas in the future? 
<_sj_> ch : that answer depends in part on how faculty adopt this -- and my sense is that the up and coming eneration is eager to do esomething new and differen.t  the answe is yeas -- in the conext of this discussion, w2ikipedia is relatively new, and it's the model that is so exciting; theif ther ar eways that a large swath of librariasna dn it specialists cna work together to further exploti this model..